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Not currently on display at the V&A

Pair of Boots

c.1920 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Pair of ladies' boots made from red glacé kid leather. The boots are knee length, with front facing lacing, a pointed toe and Lewis heel. The laces are of a twisted orange silk with metal tags. The boots are lined with white cotton twill, with facing of pink silk, marked with the retailers stamp. The lace stand is faced with brown leather. On the light brown polished sole, is a stamped, oval medallion 'GARANITE COUSU MAIN.'


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Shoe
  • Shoe
Materials and Techniques
Leather, cotton twill, plain woven silk, metal and shoe string
Brief Description
Pair of ladies' leather, laced boots, Belgium, London, c.1920
Physical Description
Pair of ladies' boots made from red glacé kid leather. The boots are knee length, with front facing lacing, a pointed toe and Lewis heel. The laces are of a twisted orange silk with metal tags. The boots are lined with white cotton twill, with facing of pink silk, marked with the retailers stamp. The lace stand is faced with brown leather. On the light brown polished sole, is a stamped, oval medallion 'GARANITE COUSU MAIN.'
Dimensions
  • Height: 46cm
  • Length: 21.5cm
  • Width: 7.2cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Handmade in Belgium for The National Shoe Store, London, Wardour St. (Printed on the silk facing.)
  • GARANTI COUSU MAIN 38 (Stamped on the sole.)
Gallery Label
Lionel Lionel collected shoes from about 1914 until his death in 1969. He bequeathed part of his collection to the V&A. The shoes, all for women, were collected from ordinary but good quality shoe shops. They represent almost all types of fashionable shoe from the period. The collection even represents the scarcity of shoes in the inter-war years. By the end of his life, Lionel had collected about six hundred pairs of shoes, all new and unworn. Many were not even unwrapped and were still boxed up with their receipts. All of the shoes in this case were bequeathed by Lionel Ernest Bussey. 1. Grey button-up boots About 1913 England Leather V&A: T.327&A-1970 2. Shoes with silk bows About 1939 England Leather, reptile skin and silk V&A: T.306&A-1970 3. Red shoes 1958 England Freeman Hardy Willis Leather and beads V&A: T.316&A-1970 4. Button-up booties 1938–39 London Regent Shoe Store Suede and patent leather V&A: T.311&A-1970 5. Green bow shoes About 1937 Belgium Leather and silk satin V&A: T.299&A-1970 6. Stiletto shoes 1958-62 England Saxone Leather V&A: T.312&A-1970 7. Shoes with Interlaced decoration About 1925 England Leather and canvas V&A: T.282&A-1970 8. Three-strap shoes About 1915 England Suede, leather and metal V&A: T.296&A-1970 9. Shoes with stamped design About 1927 Probably France Leather V&A: T.302&A-1970 10. Snakeskin shoes About 1928 England Snakeskin and leather V&A: T.308&A-1970 11. Laced boots 1920-30 Belgium/London Leather and cotton V&A: T.321&A-1970 12. Blue leather shoes 1937-39 London Lilley and Skinner Ltd Leather V&A: T.286&A-1970 13. Blue and white sandals 1936-39 England Dolcis Leather and metal V&A: T.279&A-1970 14. T-strap lizard shoes About 1921 Belgium National Shoe Stores Lizard skin and leather V&A: T.288&A-1970 15. Shoes with leather open work 1936-39 Belgium Dolcis de Luxe Leather V&A: T.283&A-1970(2015)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Lionel Ernest Bussey
Object history
Bought in 1925 by Lionel Ernest Bussey. A note at the time of their donation (by the executors of his estate in 1970) records that out of all the shoes and boots in his collection, these were Bussey's most favourite.



From Madeleine Ginsburg's report on the collection at time of acquisition in 1970:



"Lionel Ernest Bussey collected shoes from about 1914 until his death in 1969. The shoes, all ladies, were bought from ordinary fairly good class shoe shops, like Dolcis and Lilley & Skinner, and represent almost all types of fashionable shoe throughout the period, even during the periods of scarcity between the two great wars. Mr Bussey seems to have liked ladies shoes in general, and not just one particular type. His taste seems good and not eccentric.By his death he had collected about 600 pairs, all new and unworn, many not even unwrapped, still boxed up with their (dated) bills. He was fairly well off and spent a considerable amount on his collection. He had an eye for quality.



He took his collection seriously and in his will left them to a museum. I was contacted by his executors, the Midland Bank.

I had to select quickly because the house was under offer, no doors would lock, and surveyors were wandering around. In the end I brought about 80 pairs back to the museum.



Disposal to other collections There were obvious repetitions of style and since I knew we would not want such a quantity I arranged for Northampton to collect the major part, after I had made my selection, direct by van. I suggested that they sent duplicate material to Miss Buck and Mrs Moore. We could offer our spares to the same collections. Mr Riley collected 37 pairs for Brooklyn (exchange I hope for the offer of a good Chanel suit). I checked with the Midland Bank that passing to non English museums was permitted.



Mr Bussey also collected papers: our library obtained back numbers of The Sketch, the London Library some books and the British Film Institute many old Film Journals.



Our Own Shoe Collection we get many enquiries from designers and students. We show our best examples in the Costume Court, but though we have several fine pairs our collection is very unrepresentative. We probably have more 18th century shoes than 19th, and almost no 20th century material except for Heather Firbanks' shoes, all 1910-20. We are rarely offered shoes, and if so usually evening shoes or black button boots. Old worn shoes are rarely aesthetic, in any case!



My Selection I chose about 85 pairs to go through in detail at the museum. Please could we consider acceptance of about 50 pairs of cover the period 1914-1965, about 10 a decade. I cannot, I think, that unless (heaven forbid) there are more collectors like Mr Bussey such an opportunity will occur again. Nobody but an eccentric, after all, would systematically collect wearable shoes, and then not wear them! His collection is all the richer because he was not restricted to what fitted and suited him.



The basis for my selection has been the quality and design of each individual pair of shoes or boots, and representation of the main style changes not as far existing in our collection."
Production
Handmade in Belgium for shop in London
Collection
Accession Number
T.321&A-1970

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record createdNovember 3, 2005
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